Public warned vs. buying vaccines from unauthorized online sellers

MANILA — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday warned the public against purchasing Japanese encephalitis vaccine and other vaccines that are sold by unauthorized distributors or retailers online.

In its Advisory No. 2017-265, the FDA said it has received reports that these vaccines, which may be non-compliant with FDA standards, are available in social media and websites.

It noted that all establishments that sell vaccines and other drug products must secure a license to operate or authorization from the FDA to prove that they are legitimate and that they comply with proper distribution and storage practices, especially cold-chain management, which is required for temperature-sensitive products such as vaccines.

The FDA said it has already initiated regulatory action together with concerned marketing authorization holders on the proliferation of such vaccines online.

It has also requested local government units and law enforcers to ensure that unauthorized sellers are stopped in their jurisdiction.

The Department of Health has recorded 133 cases of Japanese encephalitis from Jan. 1 to Aug. 26 this year, 53 of which occurred in Central Luzon. Of the 133 cases, nine patients died – four in Pampanga, two in Zambales, and one each in Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan and Laguna.

The department said it is planning to include Japanese encephalitis in their immunization program for next year.